My first Friday Fashionista is a less well known lady but was more influential to fashion than Elizabeth Taylor. She was the editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine from 1914-1952 and responsible for the first fashion show in the United States. Meet Edna Woolman Chase.
Edna Woolman Chase was born in new Jersey in 1877. She moved to New York when she was a young woman and got a job at age 18, working at the mail room at Vogue, addressing envelopes. She was a smart woman and an enthusiastic, hard worker. In 16 years, she went from mail room girl to managing editor of Vogue Magazine. She became Editor-In-Chief in 1914
During World War I, all of the best fashion designers were based in Paris but in its war-ravaged state, Paris designers had to close their doors. Vogue's fashion spreads and stories came from those designers. The new Editor-in-Chief had to take matters into her own hands if she wanted her magazine to get through the war.
|invitation to the first fashion show in the US|
|fashion spread from Vogue 1914, the year of Edna's first fashion show|
”Concentrate completely on showing the dress, light it for this purpose, and if that can’t be done with art then art be damned. Show the dress.” -from Edna to Vogue photographers, 1939
Edna Woolman Chase truly loved fashion and because of her drive, Vogue went from a small weekly newspaper to the haute couture magazine that we know today.
In addition to her 38 years as Editor-In-Chief, Chase founded the Fashion Group International in the 1930's, which set out to promote fashion trends, fashion education and business. During World War II, she helped to redesign uniforms for women in the military, giving them a more feminine, graceful style.
For more about Edna Woolman Chase and her adventures in fashion, read her book, "Always in Vogue".
Get the Look
As you can imagine, Edna had an impeccable sense of style. She preferred Victorian styled clothes and couldn't stand open toe shoes. She loved light and muted shades of blue and graceful lines in her clothing. Edna once said, "Women seem to have forgotten that men are lured by mystery," she explained. "There is not much thrill left for them in the styles of today." It's difficult to imagine what outfit Edna might put together so I've found some of my favorite images from Vogue during her administration. Edna believed that the 1920's was the golden age for Vogue and by the magazine covers, I agree!